Chad Rea steers clear of the word "agency" when describing his new undertaking, 86 the onions.
Formerly a copywriter at Pyro in Dallas, Mother in London and KesselsKramer in Amsterdam, Rea said he is creating a "brand communications collective" specializing in youth and entertainment that is based on principles he learned in Europe.
The company, headquartered above a tattoo parlor in Venice, Calif., comprises "creative problem solvers" who will determine the right marketing mix for a brand, whether it takes the form of logo development, packaging, a documentary, a book, advertising or events, said Rea. His shop's name reflects the notion of eliminating layers and marketing formulas, he added.
Along with Rea, 31, the creative director, 86 the onions employs project manager Jon Derum, 37, who has worked at Arnold in Boston and the former Hal Riney & Partners in San Francisco; Peter Vattanatham, 29, a designer and illustrator who worked with Rea at Pyro; strategic director Adam Solomon, 34, a one-time copywriter and producer at Ground Zero in Marina del Rey, Calif.; and Chris Brown, 37, a TV writer who has written episodes for South Park and Friends and has worked on staff for UPN's Shasta McNasty.
The shop is launching with several projects for clients including Ubi Soft Entertainment computer games, Radioactive Clown action figures, Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, Calif., and Drinks That Work, as well as Dazed & Confused magazine in London and Hessenmob Skateboarding in Germany.
The group plans to partner not only with ad and media shops that provide services 86 the onions does not offer in-house, but also with individuals like graffiti artists and club DJs in the U.S. and abroad. Rea said he wants to work with people from different cultures and backgrounds for "the same reason that companies like Mother and KesselsKramer see value in [hiring] Americans—they see the culture from a different angle."